Defence supply chain review launched

The federal government is to review the program that identifies opportunities for Australian manufacturers to enter the global supply chains of eight large multi-national defence prime contractors.

The minister for defence industry Melissa Price today announced the independent review of the Global Supply Chain Program which affects companies supplying large systems to defence such as Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter, BAE Systems’ Hunter class frigates and Naval Group’s Attack class submarines.

The prime contractors appoint staff within their Australian operations who have been successful in getting at least some Australian SME’s into global supply chains.

With the departure of the car assembly manufacturers, defence remains one of the few areas where global SMEs are able to be part of global supply chains, making the program extraordinarily important for nascent exporters.

Price released the Terms of Reference for the review and revealed former senior Australian public servant and policymaker Lisa Paul AO PSM would lead it.

California-born Paul was the Secretary of the Department of Education and Training until February 2016 and led Australia’s domestic response to the 2002 Bali bombings.

In December 2016 Paul was appointed a member of the Australian Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board.

Price said: “The independent review of the Global Supply Chain Program will identify how we can better position Australian businesses to meet Defence’s future requirements.

“We need these small and medium businesses to be a part of our robust, resilient, and internationally-competitive Australian sovereign defence industrial base.”

“This review will enable Defence to provide further, more targeted support to Australian businesses wanting to work with multinational defence companies.

“It will also look at ways to better incentivise the achievement of these outcomes among participating businesses.”

Reviewing the Global Supply Chain Program was one of the recommendations from an independent review of the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, which was completed in 2020.

Picture: Defence SA/Osborne Naval Shipyard

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